Strictly pro Giovanni Pernice didn’t understand BBC’s call inviting him to show audition

Anton Du Beke and Giovanni Pernice announce tour

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Strictly Come Dancing pro Giovanni Pernice has recalled the phone call he received from the BBC asking him to audition for the show, during a new podcast interview. The 30-year-old Italian dancer, who joined the line-up in 2015, admitted that he didn’t understand the conversation at the time and had to get a friend to translate for him.

Giovanni made his comments while talking to his co-stars Janette Manrara and Aljaž Škorjanec on their Twist and Shout podcast.

The trio were discussing their first meeting, when the American host asked how he’d come to be on the show and what his reaction was to being offered a place.

“I received a phone call from Strictly and they said, ‘Listen we are interested in you having an audition with us. And I couldn’t understand anything, even the conversation,” Giovanni admitted.

“Luckily there was a person close to me who spoke English, so I give the phone to them. And I was like, ‘Please can you talk to them’. So he would translate for me.”

The ballroom dancer went on to say that the next time someone from the BBC called they spoke Italian and asked him directly if he would like to audition.

“So they flew me here and obviously the audition was all translated for me by this person at the BBC,” he went on to explain.

Pressing him further, Janette, who is the new host of the spin-off show It Takes Two, asked more about the audition process.

Giovanni said it was more like a screen test as they had already seen him dancing with former pro Joanne Clifton at a Strictly event in Liverpool.

The 37-year-old divulged that she and her now-husband Aljaž were asked to teach someone in order to secure their place on the programme.

Following the audition, Giovanni gave up on the idea of becoming a Strictly professional in the UK show.

He told the hosts: “When I got back to Italy, I said, ‘I’m never going to get the job, it’s the biggest show in England’.”

However, the BBC soon called back to offer him the role, reportedly on the condition that he learnt English in the space of two months.

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Tonight Giovanni kicks off his Him and Me tour with Strictly co-star Anton Du Beke.

Many took to social media to wish the pair good luck on their opening night.

The coronavirus and subsequent lockdowns have wreaked havoc with theatre shows across the country, including theirs.

Some June performances had to be rescheduled in order to comply with social distancing rules after Prime Minister Boris Johnson extended lockdown by four weeks.

Last month, it was announced that Anton will appear on the judging panel instead of on the dance floor during the 2021 series.

The 54-year-old said he was “thrilled to bits” to be joining Craig Revel Horwood, Shirley Ballas and Motsi Mabuse after a brief stint on the podium last year.

He will replace Bruno Tonioli, who is unable to fly to the UK amid the on-going travel restrictions.

“There’s nowhere better than a seat at that legendary desk!!” he wrote online following the announcement.

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